Remove Rivers in Paragraphs

InDesign has the built in functionality to show you if your kerning is too squashed or if your rivers (gaps between you words) are too large and interfering with the look of your paragraphs. This is especially handy if you justify your paragraphs which may lead to cramping of your characters together or if your words are too spaced out.

To get a visual indication of any spacing issues between your letters and words, open up the preferences menu (cmd + K on a Mac or ctrl + K on a PC) and go down to Composition. Select the H&J Violations check box. Press ok.

Press ⌘+K on Mac or ctrl+K on PC to get this options box.

If you have any issues with kerning or rivers, you’ll see your text highlighted in yellow. A darker yellow means there are serious problems with the spacing, a lighter shade of yellow means the problems are more minor.

One way to help fix this issue is to adjust the space between the letters. The properties panel gives you the option to increase or decrease the kerning, but the Justification dialogue box give you the option to have a maximum and minimum value for the kerning. To bring up the Justification dialogue box, press opt + shift + cmd + J (or alt + shift + ctrl + J on a Windows PC).

Press ⌥+⇧+⌘+J on Mac or alt+shift+ctrl+J on PC to get this options box.

In this box, set the minimum letter spacing to something low, like – 5% and the maximum to something like 5%. It isn’t recommended you go beyond those values. A value of 5 or less for each of those should be enough to help ease the kerning.

To turn off the yellow highlighting, go back to your preferences (⌘+K) and turn of H&J Violations.

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